Despite of all technical restrictions as well as advantages, the most important questions when confronting senior users with new technology is: Are they willing to use it?
When senior citizens over the age of 70 were asked about their acceptability of „assistive technology“ a study suggested that the technical acceptability of each individual depends on the „felt need“ the user experience towards the technology in question ( (McCreadie & Tinker, 2005). In other words, the more the device or technology helps a user with disabilities or enriches his life, the more willing he is to engage with it.
This point was picked up by Childress in her article saying that „[…] voice-command technology can enable older adults to stay longer in their current settings“, going on that the VUI-device could serve as a companion that could help especially (but is not limited to) vision-impaired people (Childress, 2017).
Another study suggests that people over 65 years are lacking a confidence in their ability to interact with technology and might therefore experience a „computer anxiety“ that results in a deficiency of willingness to interact with new technology (Charness & Boot, 2009)
Here, research indicates that VUI is a particularly efficient technology for self-proclaimed „computer novices“: When seniors were confronted with tasks that included interactions both with keyboard as well as VUI-technology. 75% of self-proclaimed „computer novices“ preferred the VUI technology. In contrast, only 11% of participants that had more experience with technology preferred the VUI. Usability and efficiency of the VUI were also rated higher by the novices than by the more professional participants (Ziman, 2018).
Overall, the interviewed seniors preferred the keyboard interactions, nonetheless: Most of the participants liked the familiarity of this interface and had established a sense of habit, the study found. On the other hand, very little participants mentioned factors such as speed and trust as perceptive factors when asked about the touch-interface (Ziman, 2018).